$7.4 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement for Brain Damaged Infant
Sommers Schwartz attorneys Matthew Curtis and Richard Groffsky obtained a settlement in a birth trauma case arising out of the defendants’ failure to properly resuscitate a newborn baby. The lawsuit claimed that the defendants improperly intubated the baby by inserting the endotracheal tube into the esophagus as opposed to the trachea. The mistake was not discovered for several minutes which prevented the baby from sufficient oxygenation. As a result of the alleged medical malpractice, The baby suffered profound hypoxic ischemic brain damage, cerebral palsy. Because the baby was not spontaneously breathing after a cesarean delivery, a pediatrician was called to insert a breathing tube. During the course of the first hour of life, the pediatrician attempted four intubations. The baby remained pale and floppy, had low oxygen saturations, low blood pressure, and a bloated stomach – all indicators that the end of the breathing tube was in the stomach, and not in the trachea leading to the lungs, where it belonged. Eventually, a team of specialists in newborn medicine was summoned from another hospital. The breathing tube was removed and reinserted in the correct location. The baby improved immediately. Unfortunately, laboratory studies done at one hour of life showed a marked metabolic acidosis (acid in the blood from oxygen deprived tissues), indicating that the baby’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period of time. Chest films also obtained during the first hour confirmed that the endotracheal tube was at times in the stomach, or too high in the trachea to provide effective oxygenation and ventilation. Today, the child suffers from spastic quadriplegia and is wheelchair-bound. She is entirely dependent on her parents for all aspects of daily living, and receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy each week.